January 22, 2020 Death Valley NP

I started the day by heading over to the visitors center to see what ranger talks were available today.  I was there as they opened and one of the Rangers was running up the flag for the day.  I talked to her on the way back in after the flag was done, she told me there were two talks for the day and she was leading one of them.

So with a little time to kill until the first talk at gold canyon, I decided to do a little exploring.  I had noticed a sign for another campground above the one we usually stay in here. The problem with Sunset campground is that there is no electricity so all of the big RV’s run their generators all day to power all of the stuff in them.  They require generators to be shut down from 7pm to 8am, but nothing ruins sitting outside to enjoy the sunset than the buzz of three or four generators running around you.  The Texas Spring campground costs $1 more than Sunset but is generator free and prettier so I moved up here and bought two nights.

Part of Artists Pallette Drive.  A really nice one way drive in the park on the way to Badwater.

The first talk of the day was in gold canyon which is one of Ton and my favorite hikes in Death Valley.  The person leading it was not a ranger but a young man on an internship at the park.  He took the duty very seriously and one thing I learned is that some of Star Wars 1 The Return of the Jedi was filmed in the canyon.  Besides that I learned a great deal about fan canyons which Death Valley is famous for.

Gold Canyon.

The second talk was at Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 280 feet below sea level.  It is one of the must stop photo stops in the park.  Besides being the lowest spot in the West it is also an interesting salt flat, and does have a spring which is 4 times saltier than sea water.

Badwater Basin, the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere.

I returned to Texas Springs for sunset and climbed a hill above the campground to watch the sunset.  Since the mountains on the west side of the valley are about 5000 feet higher than the valley but quite close, sunset happens about an hour and a half before the light fades which is kind of weird.  

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